Traditionally, sewists use polyester cone thread for serger sewing. Polyester is good because it’s strong and cone thread maximizes yardage. Sergers are thread-eaters! You can actually use a variety of threads in a serger–metallic threads, thin ribbons, fishing line-like nylon, & textured nylon. We carry Maxi-Lock at the store (it’s an industry standard) but Gutermann also makes a high quality cone thread. This is definitely a case of using a better thread creates better results. Thread breakage and tension problems can be a result of what is essentially bits of lint glued together and called “serger thread”. If the price is too good to be true, leave it. You’re not doing yourself any favors. Soap-box rant over.
But today what I want to talk about here is textured nylon thread. Sometimes referred to as Wooly Nylon (which is actually a brand name for a YLI product, it’s like calling all tissues Kleenex), this almost spongey, yarn-like thread actually expands and contracts with tension. It can be used in both the loopers and needles.
One of my great joys is roll hemming on a serger. It’s quick, it’s easy, and it looks great! Finishing garment edges (instead of hemming or facing), napkin edges, and home dec projects are all great places to utilize this bulk-free finish. Settings are pretty consistent, though location of knobs may vary. Short length, narrow width, and crazy tension settings. Your manual likely came with a chart of some kind outlining these settings. Think of it as normal, high, and higher. The left needle is removed.
Don’t forget the stitch selection lever–it should be pulled towards you (or the finger removed, depending on your machine).
By using textured nylon thread in the upper looper, the thread will actually expand and fill in the air between the stitches. Here you can see a roll hem made with regular polyester cone thread…
…and here I replaced the upper looper with Maxi-Lock Stretch.
The textured nylon is really soft and completely washable, so it’s also great for overlocking projects like swimwear, sportswear, kids, lingerie. Try it out on your next project and see the difference!